Is all of IT like this? *Help*

humbleboyhumbleboy Posts: 14Member ■□□□□□□□□□
I need some advice and a place to vent a little...

Long story short, my current job has me really questioning my career choice and I don't have enough experience to know if it's like this everywhere. I've wanted to do IT since the fifth grade and I saw a computer for the first time. I have a degree in the field and have never doubted this was what I wanted to do. Flash forward to present time...

I'm an admin at a company that is notorious for running people into the ground. There is no respect for personal time. They call all hours of the day and night. Some people are EXPECTED to work a full day and then start back with maintenance from 8 till midnight 5 days a week. The pay is a little sub-par and the benifits are the same. You are often stopped as your walking out the door and told "Hey, there is such and such going on tonight and we need you there, don't make plans."

I REALLY don't want to abandon my career but I'm very unhappy with my current situation. My co-workers all seem to agree but none of us have super long careers to know if everywhere is like this. I've always considered myself an overachiever but I just can't seem to get my head above water here. I know not every place is like this, but are others similar?

The point of all this is the ask: Is all of IT field like this or is it more so this place?

Thanks to everyone for listening, it helped to get it off my chest!

Comments

  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Posts: 3,920Mod Mod
    humbleboy wrote: »
    The point of all this is the ask: Is all of IT field like this or is it more so this place?

    The answer is: No.

    There are more relax environments, and different kinds of responsibilities. It's all about the company, your responsibilities, and your boss.


    If you're gaining good experience with all this pressure, then be patient, It'll pay off. But you need an exit strategy, like a technical plan(s)/goal(s) to get you somewhere, because you can't work like that forever. You'll get used to it, but still, things shouldn't be like this in the long run.
    Goal: MBA, March 2020
  • tbgree00tbgree00 Posts: 553Member
    This is a case of bad management, bad communications, and being understaffed. If there is something going on after hours it should have been planned and communicated before you were out the door. 4 hours of maintenance 5 days a week is insane. It sounds like there needs to be an overhaul in the design if not the leadership.

    If you were told about this when you interviewed and the 8-5 then 8-midnight folks agreed to the hours then get your experience and go. Are the managers at all sympathetic? Would you be fired for bringing it up? They can't have good work and good retention rates working people like that.

    But to answer your question no, not all jobs are exactly like that but IT is a "work till the job is done" field for the most part. I was working 8am - Midnight for a week straight on a project but it typically isn't that bad.
    I finally started that blog - www.thomgreene.com
  • nelnel Posts: 2,859Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Nope not all places are like that, although, when needed to go that extra bit further when the sh1t hits the fan you are required to do so. i work 9-5 and leave no more than 5-10 mins after 5pm. I rarely get hassle and the company are considerate to your private life and are fair to its employee's. The way i see it is that its give and take, if they are fair to you, you will be fair to them and vice versa. so i really dont mind when someone needs a hand.

    Ive worked for a place like you describe before. one bit of advice...GET OUT! they really dont care about you as an employee or person. They just want to maximise everything they can. unless the pay is amazing or it has amazing career potential (if you dont die from being over worked and stressed, thus forcing you into a coma you will never come out of whilst saying hello to your new friends upstairs ha) then i wouldnt stay. even then, theres more to hapiness than career potential/pay.

    Remember you should work to live, not live to work. Enjoy life man
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
  • SykkSykk Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    As the rest of the guys said - it's nothing to do with your career.

    Speak with your direct manager and tell him you're going to work the hours that have been specified on your contract (if you got one). And if they require more time, they must pay you for it.

    Alternatively you could always just have a chat with the boss and tell him how you feel.

    Places are generally more relaxed than that, so I definitely wouldn't be switching career!
    [√] 70-640 - 21/07/2011
    [ ] 70-642 - Currently reading Exam 70-642 Configuring Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure
  • JamesFigueroaJamesFigueroa Posts: 68Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    There are greener pastures out there my friend. I was in a similar position with my first IT job. It outright sucked but my experience there helped me land a sweet gig that made up for all the wrongs. Keep your head up and an eye on the horizon...or job openings :)

    Think about getting a cert or two if you dont have many(or any), good way to get a foot into an interview
  • jonragejonrage Posts: 30Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    sometimes its a matter of loving what you do so much that the stress doesn't bother you. sometimes you need to go your separate ways. jobs are like all other relationships, you never know how it's gonna turn out until its too late. even dream jobs have their issues and none of them are prefect.

    but if ur truly unhappy and its an unbearable situation, maybe its time to start looking elsewhere. no, everyone doesn't hate their job. the trick is to find one you love.
  • humbleboyhumbleboy Posts: 14Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    tbgree00 wrote: »
    If you were told about this when you interviewed and the 8-5 then 8-midnight folks agreed to the hours then get your experience and go. Are the managers at all sympathetic? Would you be fired for bringing it up? They can't have good work and good retention rates working people like that.

    See, here is the "rub"... I sorta knew this coming in. I got promoted into this position and I'm so thankful to have it. This has been my first real career "break" that has gotten me moving up the ladder. I feel bad for even complaining because I've fought for this for so long. I'm just worried I got myself something I didn't quite want...

    The managers are "slightly sympathetic". They may say "Thanks for getting that taken care of" but that's really about it. They aren't super sympathetic because they get about the same treatment from their superiors. It seems to be a company culture problem.

    I wouldn't be fired for bringing it up, but it would probably be best to lay low. I've mentioned it before and the feedback was "That's just the way it is for now. Toughen up!" The problem is "for now" has been ever since I've worked here. We often make jokes in the open (including the managers) but nothing comes of it.

    The problem comes from the fact I don't have enough experience to do anything else yet. It seems I'm along for the ride until I have my skills up to par.

    Retention rate is AWFUL! Half of us are here because the economy is bad and we're lucky to just have jobs, half of us are here because we were out of work for months and needed anything we could get. I do work with a GREAT group of people. All my co-workers make it worth it.
  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,721Mod Mod
    IT professional does NOT equal SLAVE. Some have jobs that suck big time. I did Desktop support for a few months by myself for close to 350 users. I used to stay late and VPN in as soon as I got home to try to keep the tickets low. My manager saw I was exhausted every day and told me "Do what you can in your scheduled hours. If you keep working after regular hours you are sending the wrong message as those above me will never see the need to get another person here." After a while, I was more relaxed, people started complaining of slow response to issues and they hired another technician.

    I agree with tbgree00. There is something inherently wrong in your environment. I don't mind staying late if there is an emergency, but "we have x going on tonight and need you here" is just lack of planning, not an emergency. My time off work is very valuable and is not for my employer to utilize of as they wish, particularly on short notice. Given appropriate planning I can certainly accommodate any special night/weekend task. Be flexible, but firm.

    I have to disagree with staying. As nel said, get out NOW. Mutual respect between an employer and the employee is vital. There's none of that where you are at right now.
  • rsuttonrsutton Posts: 1,029Member
    Anyone who works in an IT support role should expect their will be some late hours. At my job, it happens about once a week. The extent you are describing is excessive. Like someone else mentioned, it sounds like your systems/network needs a major overhaul. I hope the maintenance windows are accomplishing that and not just fixing problems.
  • odysseyeliteodysseyelite Posts: 500Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    humbleboy wrote: »
    See, here is the "rub"... I sorta knew this coming in. I got promoted into this position and I'm so thankful to have it. This has been my first real career "break" that has gotten me moving up the ladder. I feel bad for even complaining because I've fought for this for so long. I'm just worried I got myself something I didn't quite want...

    The managers are "slightly sympathetic". They may say "Thanks for getting that taken care of" but that's really about it. They aren't super sympathetic because they get about the same treatment from their superiors. It seems to be a company culture problem.

    I wouldn't be fired for bringing it up, but it would probably be best to lay low. I've mentioned it before and the feedback was "That's just the way it is for now. Toughen up!" The problem is "for now" has been ever since I've worked here. We often make jokes in the open (including the managers) but nothing comes of it.

    The problem comes from the fact I don't have enough experience to do anything else yet. It seems I'm along for the ride until I have my skills up to par.

    Retention rate is AWFUL! Half of us are here because the economy is bad and we're lucky to just have jobs, half of us are here because we were out of work for months and needed anything we could get. I do work with a GREAT group of people. All my co-workers make it worth it.

    No one said this field was going to be easy. You will find many stories about people's first job, and most of them sucked. Its just a stepping stone. Best advice is learn everything you can there, as well as study at home. Get a little bit of time in to make it look good on the resume. Get some certs and then put yourself out there.

    How many years have you been there?
    Currently reading: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    humbleboy wrote: »
    I need some advice and a place to vent a little...

    Long story short, my current job has me really questioning my career choice and I don't have enough experience to know if it's like this everywhere. I've wanted to do IT since the fifth grade and I saw a computer for the first time. I have a degree in the field and have never doubted this was what I wanted to do. Flash forward to present time...

    I'm an admin at a company that is notorious for running people into the ground. There is no respect for personal time. They call all hours of the day and night. Some people are EXPECTED to work a full day and then start back with maintenance from 8 till midnight 5 days a week. The pay is a little sub-par and the benifits are the same. You are often stopped as your walking out the door and told "Hey, there is such and such going on tonight and we need you there, don't make plans."

    I REALLY don't want to abandon my career but I'm very unhappy with my current situation. My co-workers all seem to agree but none of us have super long careers to know if everywhere is like this. I've always considered myself an overachiever but I just can't seem to get my head above water here. I know not every place is like this, but are others similar?

    The point of all this is the ask: Is all of IT field like this or is it more so this place?

    Thanks to everyone for listening, it helped to get it off my chest!

    Not all companies are like this, but in the early years you do need to work hard at this game if you want to get on. If the job really sucks then start applying elsewhere. Meanwhile hang on and grab the experience you can there but try and pace yourself. Your employment prospects will largely depend on your locale and to what extent you can pass off the experience you have gained there and elsewhere to a potential new employer. Just be careful as coming over as a 'get me out of here' guy. This may raise a flag that you can't hack pressure or demanding situations or have commitment. That flag will make you unemployable in the eyes of someone hiring. At the sametime you must appreciate that not all shops are as bad as the one you are presently in, so a lot of people hiring really wouldn't understand just how truly awful it can be out there! We still have many IT professionals who spend most of the day on the web. They toddle off home at 5pm, tell their wives they had a hell of day and spend the whole evening playing computer games alone.
  • terryferaterryfera Posts: 71Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Like others have said: No, this isn't something you should be expecting for the rest of your career.

    A lot of people new to the field end up in a similar situation. I know I had pretty much the same experience at my first job. I started at entry level and a couple years later was managing the department as well as doing the senior tech work that the lower level guys couldn't handle. It ended up turning in to a 60hr/week job that only paid for 40. It was just the culture of the place; put your heart in to it and we'll always ask for more because we can.

    After various times I sat down with my manager and told him we needed more people to do the work. As usual there was sympathy but no action. This happened a few times still to no avail. At this point I had it with IT and was ready to give up... luckily I didn't.

    I stuck around and got as much experience as I could until I found a job that was much more understanding and relaxed. It difference in how I felt about my career choice was night and day. Before I left I had actually started applying to go back to school to change fields but now it's the furthest thing from my mind. I've moved on to a great job that doesn't expect me to work outside of office hours unless scheduled weeks in advance and provides me with the tools to excel in the field.

    Hang in there, look for something that suits you better and make sure there's always an open line of communication between you and your manager or else they will never understand the results of the hours you put in.
  • ABNNBCABNNBC Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    We must have worked for the same Company? Get paid for 40 hours and expected to work 80+ hours, weekends and holidays. I was in the same boat up until earlier this year. It caused too much stress on me and my family almost to the point of divorce. I hated my job and was miserable at and away from work. A few things I realized during and after this experience.

    1. There is a line between being a dedicated employee and being abused by your employer
    2. Jobs will come and go, but your family will be their forever. Within reason, your family should come first
    3. You don’t necessarily have to love what you do, but if you hate what you do its time to move on
    4. Corporations main concern is to their shareholders, not their employees. They will discard you when it benefits their bottom line.
    5. If I work 80 hours, I will get paid 80 hours

    Now, I am happier than I have been in while. My marriage is excellent and my blood pressure is down.
  • humbleboyhumbleboy Posts: 14Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I can't express enough how much hearing all this helps! I honestly went outside and sat on the curb and prayed just to make it through the rest of the day. I came back inside, read this, and feel much better.

    I know I'm just going to have to put in the time, get my experience and keep this in mind so I don't put my own employees through this one day.

    With that being said, anyone have any really good horror stories about places they've worked? I had a boss call me one time at 3am asking if he left his pen on my desk... seriously!
  • SteveLordSteveLord Posts: 1,717Member
    If you think this is just an IT thing, you are sadly mistaken. Being expected to do more, do it better, with less staff, less money and less time....has only increased in the last few years in just about every job.
    WGU B.S.IT - 9/1/2015 >>> ???
  • elToritoelTorito Posts: 102Member
    I can somewhat relate. I easily put in 60+ hours a week at work, plus hours spent at home researching issues. This has been going on for over a year now, and I really don't see light at the end of the tunnel.

    It's not even management that expects me to work all these hours. It's the hellishly demanding user environment that constantly wants to get things done yesterday. Combine that with coworkers that don't exactly have the best work ethic (the types that log off half an hour before they've done their mandatory 8 hours), and you've got an IT department where every end user drops their crap on you, because they know you're the only one who can get things done in a reasonable amount of time.

    Thing is, I'm not in a position to leave just yet, because I just got promoted to this sysadmin position. If I were to apply for another job now, I'm afraid that helpdesk or desktop support is what I'll be doing again - something I've worked for 3+ years to escape.

    Reading your story, it seems you're in a similar situation. The only advice I can give is... yeah, tough it out for a while more. Try to get all the experience you can, play with the technology and equipment available to you (if you can spare the time). Get more certs if possible.

    If you browse the job boards one day and can honestly say 'I could do that!' to 70% of all the available sysadmin jobs, then I'd say it's time to move on.
    WIP: CISSP, MCSE Server Infrastructure
    Casual reading: CCNP, Windows Sysinternals Administrator's Reference, Network Warrior


  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Posts: 3,920Mod Mod
    humbleboy wrote: »
    ..

    With that being said, anyone have any really good horror stories about places they've worked? I had a boss call me one time at 3am asking if he left his pen on my desk... seriously!

    why didn't give him a finger ? icon_scratch.gif

    this isn't normal!
    Goal: MBA, March 2020
  • cxzar20cxzar20 Posts: 168Member
    No, not all places are like that. I usually average 40-45 hours a week with rotational on-call. All off hours maintenance and escalation issues are handled by on call. If I am called in at 1am to troubleshoot a large multicast issue and don't get out until a few hours later then that time is taken off either the next day or later that week. Rarely do I work more than 45 hours.
  • kingslayerkingslayer Posts: 38Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Ok so I have to work a full day tomorrow, unpaid (of course).
    2011 Goals: 70-433 | 70-432
  • HypntickHypntick Posts: 1,451Member
    kingslayer wrote: »
    Ok so I have to work a full day tomorrow, unpaid (of course).

    Yeah...I don't work for free and neither should you.
    WGU BS:IT Completed June 30th 2012.
    WGU MS:ISA Completed October 30th 2013.
  • pham0329pham0329 Posts: 556Member
    Hypntick wrote: »
    Yeah...I don't work for free and neither should you.

    if you're on salary, coming in on Saturday during major rollout is not that uncommon.
  • WiseWunWiseWun Posts: 285Member
    nel wrote: »
    Remember you should work to live, not live to work. Enjoy life man

    Well said!
    "If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” - Ken Robinson
  • jmasterj206jmasterj206 Posts: 471Member
    My first job doing tier 2 support was like this. 90 hour weeks weren't uncommon. The next job was the total opposite. We had a pool table and foosball table in our department. We could play all we wanted as long as the work got done. I moved on from both and now work 40-45 hours a week. I am on call 24/7/365 but calls aren't overwhelming.

    Get some experience and move on.
    WGU grad
  • HypntickHypntick Posts: 1,451Member
    pham0329 wrote: »
    if you're on salary, coming in on Saturday during major rollout is not that uncommon.

    I agree, however, that needs to be stated in the employment agreement and understood by the employee. Sounds like in this situation that's not the case.

    Luckily, even though I'm salary, in situations like that, they do pay for my time.
    WGU BS:IT Completed June 30th 2012.
    WGU MS:ISA Completed October 30th 2013.
  • kingslayerkingslayer Posts: 38Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Its not a roll-out its to do support, and its not a one off.

    I dont mind staying an hour or two later every now and then, but a whole saturday unpaid is just a joke.
    2011 Goals: 70-433 | 70-432
  • kingslayerkingslayer Posts: 38Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Problem is Im:

    a) not cheeky enough to complain about it
    b) not in a good financial situation therefore am basically a slave to this job

    Will just have to grin and bear it, for now.
    2011 Goals: 70-433 | 70-432
  • pham0329pham0329 Posts: 556Member
    is that even legal? Didn't WalMart get sued a while back for asking their employee to work during their break/lunch??
  • ABNNBCABNNBC Posts: 10Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    pham0329 wrote: »
    if you're on salary, coming in on Saturday during major rollout is not that uncommon.

    That is understandable within reason, but if your salary some employers think that you should work whenever and however they choose. Granted, many companies will give comp time up to a certain amount. So if your maximum comp time is 80 hours and you reach that level by March the next nine months of work that exceeds 40 hours a week is free labor for the company.
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